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I think it would be great to talk with some users about Offtopic topics. The chat is a good beginning (but an IRC Network would be better IMHO ;-)). On this groups, bbs or something else we can plan somethings like regional/national/international regulars table, conferences and much more.

Features like this would let the community grow up or it can bind existing users longer to the community, because a name is not only name but rather a real existing person. IMHO.

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an IRC Network would be better => I may be old school but I totally agree. I think IRC has a much better usability than SO's in-house made chat :S Maybe though it's because I'm used to it. –  Andreas Bonini Aug 9 '10 at 8:39
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You guys realize IRC is still there, right? There have been at least two SO-focused channels for quite some time... If that's what floats your boat. –  Shog9 Aug 9 '10 at 8:50
    
FWIW: the chat room for this request –  Shog9 Aug 9 '10 at 16:38

2 Answers 2

By design Stack Overflow and the related sites are not social networks.

They are Q&A sites, and features that tend to more the nature of the site more towards social networking are regularly shot down.

With good reason.

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As we can see in the last time, more community features are already in use (e.g. the chat). So why not make it possible for users to meet each other? Regulars table are a good example. I understand, that ideas like BBS are not so popular, but i would really appreciate more features like the chat. Can you explain you're "good reason"? I think i now what you mean (see other communities in the web... sigh) but i think we should be open to try out more things to let the community grow. –  fwaechter Aug 9 '10 at 8:00
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@fwa: the primary focus of SO is and has been getting good answers to questions... Whether those answers are from well-known members of "the community", or some guy who just signed on for the first time. Anything that distracts from that is seen as potentially-dangerous: there has to be a clear payoff in terms of helping the Q&A thing succeed to balance out the added potential for distraction. Chat was a long time coming, and it's still not clear how much idle socialization or cliquish behavior will be tolerated there... (in before dmckee!) –  Shog9 Aug 9 '10 at 8:15
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@fwa: The presence of some of the "community" features (meta, and chat in particular) have been largely driven my moderation needs. The focus should stay on Questions and Answers. Anything else detracts from the thing that gives the sites their value. (Beat to the punch by Shog9, again. ::sigh::) –  dmckee Aug 9 '10 at 8:16

Ironically, this would make a great chat topic, because I think your question goes in a bunch of different directions and isn't really clear.

I think you should hash this out in chat.meta and come back and re-edit your question to be clearer, more focused and specific.

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